Oded Ezer: The Samsa Enigma

4. 6. 2024 - 30. 9. 2024

A June 1916 edition of the Prager Tagblatt newspaper contained a delirious account of Gregor Samsa’s re-metamorphosis in a trash heap behind the city walls. Inspired by The Metamorphosis, it was written by Karl Brand, an admirer of Kafka’s work. This is illustrative of the immediate impact that Kafka’s story had on the imagination of readers and authors alike – including the author featured in Oded Ezer’s exhibition The Samsa Enigma.

The concept behind this project by the leading Israeli typographer Oded Ezer revolves around the notion that Gregor Samsa was not only the protagonist of Kafka’s famous story, but also a   prolific author in his own right – but, unlike Kafka, was not fortunate enough to have his manuscripts saved by anyone. All we have left of Samsa’s literary legacy is a list of titles of his unpublished books.

As well as creating covers for Gregor Samsa’s lost novels, Ezer also considers how the author may have lived and thought, what made him happy, what gave him anxiety, and what sent him into raptures. The books have their covers and titles, but all their pages are empty. Will Samsa’s lost manuscripts ever be found again? And if so, what will they be like? All this is shrouded in mystery, at least for now.

Oded Ezer is a leading Israeli typographer, designer, educator, and creator of visual content around subjects such as science, medicine, anthropology, body art, ethics, literature, religion, history, sociology, politics, and writing systems. He collaborates with cultural and research institutions, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Among his clients are some of the world’s most prestigious museums (MoMA, V&A Museum, Taiwan National Museum of Art, Design Museum Holon), major city festivals (Jerusalem Season of Culture, Palermo Capitale della Cultura, Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków), start-ups, and global companies (Google, Samsung, Waze). He designed and illustrated the unique book New American Haggadah (Little, Brown & Co., 2012), whose first edition he  introduced to a Czech audience during his short artistic residency at the Jewish Museum in Prague back in 2012. One of Ezer’s recent works is the design of a new logo and bilingual font for Israel’s legendary Weizmann Institute. More information about Oded Ezer is available on his official website at https://www.odedezer.com/.

This exhibition will be one of the highlights of “KAFKA 100”, a year-long series of events organized by the Jewish Museum in Prague. It will include guided tours with the curator Michaela Sidenberg, as well as an educational program for elementary and secondary school pupils.

This project is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. General partners are Canon, PPS print and Embassy of the State of Israel.

Oded Ezer©2023, Duet, The Samsa Enigma